Football Zebras
Controversy12-men penalty takes 8 seconds from clock

12-men penalty takes 8 seconds from clock

4th quarter | :17 remaining | Giants 21-17 | Patriots ball | 2nd & 10 @ NE 44

An illegal substitution on the Giants cost them five yards, but they leveraged an unintended advantage as eight seconds ticked off the clock. It appears that the Giants were confused during the hurry-up offense, defensive end Justin Tuck was unable to leave the field before the ball was snapped.

The Giants, however, did not have the advantage of an extra defender on the incomplete pass, as there were 11 players engaged in earnest play, while the 12th player was trying to exit the field. However, the Patriots offense, it could be said, would be put at a slight disadvantage, because the offense would initially be making an inaccurate read of 12-man coverage.

There cannot be 12 players in an offensive huddle, as this is a dead-ball foul. However, because of situational substitution on the defense, there is no equivalent defensive penalty. The defensive 12-man penalty (or, rarely, an offensive 12-man penalty outside of the huddle) is a live-ball penalty which allows the play to continue.

Ben Austro
Ben Austro
Ben Austro is the editor and founder of Football Zebras and the author of So You Think You Know Football?: The Armchair Ref's Guide to the Official Rules (on sale now)

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